Thursday, September 30, 2010

Show Your Knees!

These are totally as good as Naomi Campbell's knees...I'm just sayin'.

I had an epiphany recently. Last month, I bought and started wearing a pair of shorts. And these were not just any pair of shorts, oh no. These shorts show my knees. I know, I know, that sounds ridiculous, so let me give you some back story.

I have not worn shorts since sometime around 1995 when I was still in college. At the time, the only shorts I wore were guys shorts. They weren't tight or showy and they hid my knees. Oh, my knees. They've been a sore spot of mine since I was a wee child. When I was about 10 years old I decided my knees were best left an unseen entity by the known world.

My issues with them were many and varied:

1) They were badly scarred and discolored from an accident when I was 6.
2) They were fat.
3) They were stretch-marked from all that fast food I ate.

Alright, so I only had three issues with my knees, but they were bigguns y'all! And until last month I'd firmly committed myself to never letting them see the light of day. (Aside from the odd trip to the pool, which brought up so many other body traumas that my fatty, marked-up knees actually became the least of my concerns.)

So, what happened in August? Well, I was shopping for another pair of work appropriate walking shorts. You know, something in a nice, tailored style that would let my legs breathe a little but not show too much. I was browsing one of my favorite sites when I saw these:

photo courtesy

Oh my God, I thought, they're so cute! And they were ten bucks, so I bought them. I got them home and tried them on. They were downright cozy, those shorts! Nice, airy fabric with a nice color and nice pockets. I felt good in them.

Until I looked down and saw my knees. There they were, two banes of my existence just hangin' out and saying How Do! to the world at large. Dammit, I thought, can't keep 'em.

I had resolved to send them back. But, over the course of a week I tried them on for my mom and HUBS and put them on at least twice just to look at myself in them again, something I never do. Generally when I buy clothing, that's it. I try it on, I like it, I buy it, I cut the tags off and put it away. I couldn't do that here. There was a new kind of feeling I had when I put these shorts on. I felt nervous and excited and free and scared. Like I was doing something naughty; maybe even something that the general population wouldn't approve of...And? It felt good.

I decided to cheat a bit: I'd wear the shorts out once, and if I felt uncomfortable or kept tugging at them or kept looking to see how others were responding to The Knees, I'd send them back. Do you know what mighty amazing thing happened? I totally didn't care what random strangers might be thinking! And I was comfortable! And I didn't tug at them once!

I was freeeeeeeee! Over the course of the next month I wore my new Freedom Shorts about two or three times a week. Now I'm thinking of getting tights (something I haven't worn since about 2000) so I can keep rockin' my freedom as the weather gets cooler.

The lesson here, I think, is that so often we tell ourselves what we can't do/shouldn't do because of our or others' outdated ideas of ourselves. People! I missed out on shorts because, decades after I made the decision to keep them under wraps, I figured that was still the best option for me. If I'd tried to wear shorts earlier, who knows when I would have realized that I didn't need to hide anymore.

So? Just do it! At least once every few years, see how it feels to show your flabby upper arms (been there; busted that fear with my sleeveless wedding dress two years ago), your raggedy feet, your varicose veined calves and yes, even your fat, imperfect knees.

One day you may find clothing that makes you feel good, even with your (former) dislikes flashing the world.


Kristen said...

I set my arms free this summer! What a great feeling!

citygirl said...

Yes, Kristen! That's what I'm talkin' about!! I'm learning that it's never as awkward as you think it'll be.

SoMuchSugar said...

OH MY GOd I just had the same feeling happen when I bought a skirt that was just a bit over half my knee... (I only buy ones that cover my knees cuz I am so self-conscious)... and as I wore it a couple times I finally started feeling 'freer'... i just stopped caring so much. Am I just getting older, or am I getting stronger??!! Maybe I will start wearing shorts too!

citygirl said...

I think often being older goes right along with being stronger, but we don't realize it until we test ourselves a little bit.

Hell. It just occured to me that there could be other things I'm completely ready to do that I haven't tried! I need to make a list!

And you, Sugar? Wear shorts! Wear shorts! Wear shorts!


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